|Publication number||US6935523 B2|
|Application number||US 10/421,524|
|Publication date||Aug 30, 2005|
|Filing date||Apr 22, 2003|
|Priority date||Jan 18, 2002|
|Also published as||US20030196980|
|Publication number||10421524, 421524, US 6935523 B2, US 6935523B2, US-B2-6935523, US6935523 B2, US6935523B2|
|Inventors||Chong Youn Ahn|
|Original Assignee||La Display Fixture, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (25), Referenced by (37), Classifications (8), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present continuation-in-part application claims the benefit of application Ser. No. 10/117,572, filed on Apr. 4, 2002, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,669,037 which claims the benefit of provisional application No. 60/349,940, filed on Jan. 18, 2001, both entitled “MODULAR DISPLAY RACK SYSTEM”, their contents are expressly incorporated herein by reference.
Modular display racks discussed herein generally relate to display racks for displaying merchandise items and, more specifically, to modular display racks that may be assemble and disassemble into different configurations.
Display racks having one or multiple display ladders are widely used in retail shops and departments stores to display merchandise such as clothing, toys, and food.
There are several disadvantages with the illustrated prior art display rack 1. Among other things, the prior art display rack includes a welded upper rack portion 3 and a welded lower base portion 4. The welded upper portion 3 includes ladders 5 joined together by a plurality of lateral support bars 6. Because the joints between the lateral support bars 6 and the ladders 5 are welded, the upper portion 3 may be often quite large and heavy depending on the number of ladders used.
The base portion 4 may similarly be imposing to an individual handling and shipping the rack assembly 1. The base portion 4 includes two end stabilizer bars 7 joined together by a cross-bar 8. The end stabilizer bars 7 are usually also equipped with casters 9. Thus, packaging and finding available couriers to transport the prior art rack system 1 may be burdensome.
Another deficiency with the illustrated prior art display rack 1 is that the welded joints between the stabilizer bars 7 and the ladders 5 may sometime crack or break due to the overall weight of the rack system 1. In addition, due to the reasons discussed above, the rack system 1 may overall be heavy and difficult to manipulate. Furthermore, each configuration of the ladder rack system (i.e., a single ladder rack, a two ladder rack, a three ladder rack, and on occasions, a four ladder rack) requires separate inventory and production. This may be both expensive to produce and more difficult to minimize inventory. Among other things, several production procedures may be required for different rack configurations, making production more costly. Also, predicting which rack configuration to store may not be easy since the configuration that a customer is most likely to order may generally not be predicted. This may lead to the production and storage of multiple rack system with different configurations.
Accordingly, there remains a need for a modular display rack that is easily modifiable into different configurations. Such a modular display rack should, to the extent possible, be easier to assemble and disassemble then the display racks in the prior art.
From a rack manufacturer's standpoint, display racks that are easy to assemble and disassemble have additional benefits. Racks of this type simplify inventory and are easier to package and ship via carriers such as UPS® and Federal Express®. In addition, modular racks that are capable of reducing into smaller components are easier to handle and require fewer workers and machines to manipulate. Such manipulation includes removing the components from their shelves and then packaging them for shipping.
Accordingly, the present invention utilizes detachable members to form a base and then permit individual components to removeably mount thereto to form a modular rack. To disassemble the modular rack into smaller components, the steps are simply reversed.
The modular rack can be installed as a single tower rack or as a rack of any tower size, limit only by the display area, by the addition or removal of the modular components such as the center stabilizer bars, removable cross-bars, center ladders, and lateral support bars.
The modular rack in accordance with practice of the present invention may include two ladder racks removably connected together by an upper horizontal bar and a lower horizontal bar, the two ladder racks each comprises two vertical braces and a base bar pivotally attached to a lower end of the two vertical braces via a pivot pin; and wherein the base bar is pivotable between a first position and a second position about the pivot pin.
Another modular display rack system provided in accordance with aspects of the present invention for displaying merchandise items may comprise a first end ladder rack comprising a first vertical brace having an inwardly facing surface and an outwardly facing surface and a second vertical brace having an inwardly facing surface and an outwardly facing surface; a plurality of cross braces connected to the inwardly facing surfaces of the first and second vertical braces of the first end ladder rack; a retaining aperture located on a lower portion of the inwardly facing surface of each of the first and second vertical braces; a base bar for supporting the first end ladder rack pivotally attached to the retaining aperture of each of the first and second vertical braces via a pivot pin; the base bar is moveable between a first position and a second position about the pivot pin; and wherein the first end ladder rack is removably attached to a second end ladder rack or a center ladder rack by a support bar, the support bar supporting the first end ladder rack and either the second end ladder rack or the center ladder rack laterally.
Still yet, another aspect of the prevention invention includes a method for erecting a modular display rack comprising attaching a first end ladder rack to either a second end ladder rack or a center ladder rack using support bar; the first end ladder rack comprising two vertical braces attached to one another by a plurality of cross braces; moving a base bar pivotally attached to the end ladder rack via a pivot pin from a first position to a second position; and fixing the base bar from pivotally rotating from the second position.
Other embodiments and variations may be implemented based on teachings of the disclosure and the drawings set forth herein.
These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:
The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of the presently preferred embodiments of the modular display rack in accordance with the present invention and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the present invention may be constructed or utilized. The description sets forth the features and the steps for constructing and using the modular display rack of the present invention in connection with the illustrated embodiments. It is to be understood, however, that the same or equivalent functions and structures may be accomplished by different embodiments that are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention. Also, as denoted elsewhere herein, like element numbers are intended to indicate like or similar elements or features.
Referring now to
The display rack 10 according to the embodiment illustrated in
The lower base portion 14 includes two end stabilizer bars 30, a center stabilizer bar 32, and two removable cross-bars 34 used to removeably connect the two end stabilizer bars 30 with the center stabilizer bar 32. Each stabilizer bar 30, 32 is also equipped with casters 36, which may be fixed or rail type casters. However, other casters may be used such as swivel stem style casters with breaks and locks. If used, these swivel stem style casters prevent the display rack 10 from moving when pushed accidentally. The stem style casters may screw or thread directly into the stabilizer bars 30, 32, or, alternatively, thread into corresponding nuts (not shown) welded to the base of the stabilizer bars. Other casters and methods for installing the same are conventional in the art and may also be used as will be apparent to one skilled in the art.
Referring now to
The lower base portion 14 includes two end stabilizer bars 30 removeably secured to each other by a single cross-bar 34. The lower base portion 14 also includes a plurality of casters 36, which may be fixed or rail type casters. However, as discussed above, other casters may be used such as swivel stem style casters with breaks and locks.
As readily apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art, the double tower display rack 31 is a subcombination of the triple tower display rack shown in FIG. 2. To create the double tower display rack 31 from the triple tower display rack 10, the center ladder 18, the two pair of lateral support bars 22, 24, the center stabilizer bar 32, and one of the removable cross-bars 34 are removed from the triple tower rack 10. Conversely, to assemble a multiple tower rack, such as a four tower rack or higher, additional center ladders 18, cross-bars 34, and lateral support bars 20, collectively referred to as rack components, are added. This eliminates the need for the advance production and storage of pre-welded multiple tower racks. Racks of different configurations may now be created via the addition or the removal of the rack components.
Referring now to
The lower base portion 14 of the single ladder display rack 38 includes a single cross-style base 42. To minimize the number of different components, the cross-style base 42 may be assembled by removeably securing two half-bars 44 onto the center stabilizer bar 32. Accordingly, one component used for the single tower that may not be present in the double tower and the triple tower rack is the half-bars 44 used in the single cross-style base 42.
The cross-style base 42 also utilizes a plurality of casters 36. As discussed above, these casters may be a fixed type, a flanged type, a swivel type and the like. Accordingly, minor changes between caster types are contemplated to fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
The pair of vertical braces 48 is fixedly secured together by a plurality of cross-braces 54. The number of cross-braces in the ladder 16 depends on the length of the ladder. The vertical braces 48 and the cross braces 54 have the following configuration: L×W×D, where L is the length, W is the width, and D is the depth of the rectangular tubing (FIG. 5A). In an embodiment where each vertical brace 48 has a width X, each of the cross-braces 54, which may also be made from rectangular tubing pieces, have a depth that is less than half X. This provides, at each cross-brace to vertical brace welded location, space for accommodating a pair of cross-braces 54. In other words, at the top cross-brace location 56, two cross-braces 54, one superimposed over the other but separated by a small gap, are welded to the pair of vertical braces 48. Thus, two times the depth of the cross-brace plus the small gap should be the same as or slightly less than the width of the vertical brace 48. Exemplary dimensions are further discussed below.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Although the end, center, and single unit ladders of
Referring now to
Referring now to
In an exemplary embodiment, two U-shape brackets 46 are welded, side-by-side, to the main vertical brace 48. In this fashion, the two U-shape brackets 48 may accommodate two lateral support bars 20 in a side-by-side fashion to provide two hanging surfaces for hangrails 11 and the like. In order to allow sufficient space for the engagement end of the hangrail to engage the lateral support bar 20, the two U-shape brackets 46 may be welded with a flat plate (not shown) disposed therebetween. According to one embodiment, this plate serves to not only add structural rigidity to the two U-shape brackets, but also fix or define a gap in-between the U-shape brackets to enable the engagement end of the hangrail 11 to grab onto.
Referring now to
In the illustrated embodiment, the center load-bearing piece 80 includes two through holes 86. These through holes 86, which extend the entire width of the center load bearing piece, are positioned so that when an end ladder 16 is mounted to the end stabilizer bar 30 by, for example, positioning the base bracket 58 directly over the center load bearing piece 80, the through holes 86 align with the through holes 60 on the base bracket 58. After the through holes 60, 86 are aligned, a pair of fasteners 21, such as a pair of bolt and nut combination, may be inserted therethrough and tightened. A person skilled in the art should recognize that any other number of through holes may be used depending on the width of the center load bearing piece and the dimension of the holes.
A joining bracket 88 is provided which is welded to one of the axial ends of the center load-bearing piece 80. A pair of nuts 90 are also provided and welded onto the joining bracket 88 to serve as gripping points for a pair of bolts (not shown). Thus, to join two end stabilizer bars 30 (or one end stabilizer bar 30 and one center stabilizer bar 32) together, a removable cross-bar 34 is placed over the joining bracket 88 in a telescoping fashion. A pair of bolts (not shown) are then inserted and tightened against the pair of nuts 90 to thereby removeably secure the cross-bar 34 to the end stabilizer bar 30. As discussed above, the lower base portion 14 may be practiced with swivel type casters. When that is the case, the two leg extensions 82 are fitted or welded with a pair of swivel nuts 92. The swivel type casters can then thread or screw directly into the swivel nuts 92 to be removeably secured the casters thereto.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
In general terms, a multi-tower rack may be assembled in the following fashion with reference to
In assembling the upper rack portion 12, two end ladders 16 are fastened on the two end stabilizer bars 30 by inserting a pair of bolts at the base bracket 58 through the through holes 86 of each end ladder 16. The U-shape brackets 46 on each of the end ladders 16 are turned so that they face inward, toward the center stabilizer bar 32. In the same fashion, a center ladder 18 is mounted over the center stabilizer bar 32. Eight lateral support bars 20 are then used to removeably secure the two end ladders 16 with the center ladder 18. This is done by lowering the flange ends 62 of the lateral support bars into corresponding pair of U-shape brackets 46. The engagement tips 64 of the various flanges 62 should slide into their respective receiving channels 78. Once the upper rack portion 12 is assembled, it may be disassembled by reversing the steps.
A modular display rack system 100 provided in accordance with other aspects of the present is shown in
Referring now to
Referring now to
The locking flange 128 further includes a pair of male detents or tabs 140 for engaging a pair of locking apertures 142 of the stabilizer bar or base bar 124. The locking apertures 142 are positioned adjacent a central opening 144 of the stabilizer bar, which is adapted to receive the locking pin 126. The locking apertures 142 and the central opening 144 may extend the width of the stabilizer bar, i.e., are present on both surfaces of the stabilizer bar. The stabilizer bar 124 may include a pair of stationary or rotatable casters 36 for facilitating moving the modular display rack.
As previously discussed, the vertical braces 48 of the end ladder rack 106 (and of the center ladder rack, as further discussed below) may generally be made from rectangular tubing. The vertical braces 48 each comprises an inwardly facing surface 146 and an outwardly facing surface 148. For reference purposes, inwardly facing surfaces of a pair of adjacent vertical braces 48 (of either a center ladder rack or an end ladder rack) face one another. A retaining aperture 150 may be located at or near the lower end section 112 of each inwardly facing surface 146 of each vertical brace 48, but not on the outwardly facing surface 148 of the same vertical brace. The retaining aperture 150 comprises a chamfered opening and includes a planar section 152 sized to abut with the longitudinal planar surface 132 of the locking pin 126 to eliminate rotation of the locking pin relative to the vertical brace 48. However, it is envisioned that alternative quick connect/disconnect mechanisms may be made to operate with retaining apertures 150 positioned on the outwardly facing surfaces instead of or in addition to the inwardly facing surfaces of the vertical braces. For example, such retaining apertures may be incorporated to enable the locking pins to extend through the vertical braces.
The quick connect/disconnect mechanism 102 is mounted to the stabilizer bar 124 and the end ladder rack 106 by first inserting the locking pin 126 through the central opening 144 of the stabilizer bar 124. The locking pin 126 should be inserted so that the notches 134 a, 134 b on the locking pin 126 straddle either side (on the outside surface) of the stabilizer bar 124. The clips 135 a, 135 b are then engaged with the notches 134 a, 134 b on the locking pin 126 to confine the stabilizer bar 124 to an area between the two notches 134 a, 134 b, i.e., the stabilizer bar should be fixed axially along the locking pin between the notches.
The opening 136 on the flange 128 is then mounted over the locking pin 126, on either end of the locking pin until the male detents 140 on the flange engage the locking apertures 142 of the stabilizer bar 124. The resilient member 130 is now assembled over the end of the locking pin 126 on the end where the flange 128 is positioned. The quick connect/disconnect mechanism 102 and the stabilizer bar 124 are now assembled to the end ladder rack 106 by forcing the two ends of the locking pin into the retaining apertures 150 of the inwardly facing surfaces 146 of the vertical braces 48. The vertical braces 48 will momentarily and reversibly deflect or bend to enable the pin of the quick connect/disconnect mechanism 102 to be received by the retaining apertures 150 of the inwardly facing surfaces 146. Alternatively, a spring bias telescopic rod may be used for the locking pin 126, two or more resilient members 130 may be used instead of one, and a tongue and groove arrangement instead of a chamfered surface for rotational control of the components of the quick connect/disconnect mechanism may be used. Other variations for implementing a quick connect/disconnect mechanism are also contemplated and are deemed to fall within the scope of the present invention.
Another modular display rack system 101 provided in accordance with aspects of the present invention is shown in
In one embodiment, the end stabilizer bar 124 may be rotated from a first normal support position (
The end stabilizer bar 124 may be attached to either the end ladder rack 106 and/or the center ladder rack 154 at the manufacturing plant and shipped to a retailer, a department store, or an end user in the folded upright position. Alternatively, the end stabilizer bar 124 and the quick connect/disconnect mechanism 102 may be shipped separately and assembled on site to use in the manner and fashion described in the foregoing paragraphs. To form the modular display rack system 101 of
A semi-schematic perspective view of another modular display rack system 162 provided in accordance with aspects of the present invention is shown in FIG. 24. The display rack system 162 is similar to the display rack system 160 of
The display rack system 160 of
A peripheral device comprising a shelf 164 may also be used with the modular display rack system 160 of the present invention. The shelf 164 may comprise two or more engaging brackets 166 formed on the underside of the top shelf surface 170 to engage with either the vertical brace 48, the lateral support bar 20, or the cross brace 54. Once mounted, the shelf 164 may function as display surface for merchandise items, such as clothes, toys, food, etc. The shelf 164 may be made from steel, wood, thermoplastic, fiberglass, or other materials having sufficient hardness and rigidity to provide support for merchandise items.
A semi-schematic perspective view of the modular display rack 160 of
The rising hang rails 178 shown include a first arm section 174 having an axis attached to an engagement bracket 184 having a different axis. The axis of the first arm section 174 is offset from the axis of the engagement bracket 184 to enable the rising hangrail 178 to be hung from the second set of cross brace 54 a, third set of cross brace 54 b, and so forth. This offset configuration allows the rising hangrail 178 to be hung without the first arm section 174 or the second arm section 178 of the rising hangrail hitting or abutting any part of the tower rack or any part of the display tower, i.e., the offset provides clearance for the rising hangrail to be hung on any of the cross braces along the height of a particular ladder rack.
A sloping arm hangrail 180 may also be used with the modular display rack system 160 of the present invention. The sloping arm hangrail 180 comprises an arm section 186 attached to an engagement bracket 166, and more particularly to a side of the C-channel of the engagement bracket at an angle. The arm section 186 comprises a plurality of spaced apart bumps 188, which act to distribute hangers or hooks that are hung on the sloping arm hangrail 180 to prevent them from collecting together.
Display boxes 182 having a width W, a height H, and a depth D may also be used with the modular display rack system 160 of the present invention. The display boxes 182 may be made from wood, thermoplastic, thin sheet metal, and the like and attached to one or more stabilizer bars 124 to provide shelf space for merchandise items. The width D, height H, and depth D of the display boxes 182 may vary depending on needs and aesthetic appeal of the end user.
A semi-schematic perspective view of the modular display rack 162 of
As shown, a U-shaped hanging bracket 108 is hung on a first side 26 of the modular display rack 162. The U-shaped hanging bracket 108 may also include a wire meshed basket hung on the frame of the U-shaped bracket to provide a pocket, such as a drawer, for displaying items, such as socks, packaged food, etc. Another peripheral device shown is a shelf hangrail 190 comprising a shelf surface 192 hung to either the cross braces 54 or lateral support bars 20 of the modular display rack system 162. An angled shelf hangrail 194 comprising a shelf surface 196 positioned at an angle to two or more engagement brackets (not shown) is also shown. As readily apparent, the particular peripheral devices shown are exemplary only and variations in the structures and the manner and fashion in which peripheral devices are used with the modular display racks of the present invention to display merchandise items are contemplated.
Listed below are exemplary rectangular tubing and bracket dimensions. However, it is understood that these are exemplary only and that other dimensions, thickness, etc. may be altered without changing the scope of the invention. Accordingly, a mere change in size or dimension is contemplated within the present invention.
Although the preferred embodiments of the invention have been described with some specificity, the description and drawings set forth herein are not intended to be delimiting, and persons of ordinary skill in the art will understand that various modifications may be made to the embodiments discussed herein without departing from the scope of the invention, and all such changes and modifications are intended to be encompassed within the appended claims. Various changes to the modular display rack may be made including manufacturing the entire rack out of square tubing, changing the dimension of the tubing pieces, adding more or fewer cross-braces and U-shape brackets, changing the metallurgy, changing the finish (from nickel to grinded steel finish or brush steel finish), using posts instead of casters, and changing the type of casters. Other changes may also include using different means to practice the quick connect/disconnect mechanism disclosed herein, including using a spring loaded telescopic pivot pin, using two resilient members, using fewer or more clamps, etc. Accordingly, many alterations and modifications may be made by those having ordinary skill in the art without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention.
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|U.S. Classification||211/195, 211/206, 211/193, 280/79.3, 211/189|
|Apr 22, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: LA DISPLAY FIXTURE, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AHN, CHONG YOUN;REEL/FRAME:014004/0512
Effective date: 20030421
|Mar 14, 2006||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jan 29, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Apr 15, 2013||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Aug 30, 2013||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Oct 22, 2013||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20130830